Disorder of bone structure that may reach partial destruction and initially don’t show in plain radiographs is a condition studied extensively in recent years. Easy access and wide use of Magnetic Resonance Imaging has played its role. Causes include injury, (commonly the patient is not able to recall a specific traumatic event) even in the form of repetitive low intensity injuries, systematic pathology and toxic factors like alcohol abuse, corticosteroids, radiation therapy, sickle cell anemia, rheumatic diseases and decompression sickness. Common feature: Blood flow disturbance and local hypoxia resulting in imbalance between bone absorption – disposition or even cell death. If not restrained, it causes bone deformity and osteoarthropathy with subsequent need for surgical treatment / arthroplasty.
The condition is characterized as idiopathic when no cause can be identified and in recent years it is diagnosed more frequently, especially in young adults and athletes. It is these productive ages affected that magnifies the impact of avascular necrosis.
Hyperbaric Oxygen corrects hypoxia and secures enough oxygen is delivered for proper function of osteoclasts, osteoblasts and osteocytes. Many studies have shown good results and a meta-analysis that included 15 studiesireported 97% success when Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy was used. Also, there are ongoing studies worldwide and our team has one prospective trial underway as well. Our experience shows high recovery rate comparing to other methods used alone, resulting in cure or avoiding surgical management..
i Ditri L etal. Femoral Head Necrosis. In Mathieu D, ed. Handbook on Hyperbaric Medicine. The Netherlands: Springer; 2006.